Degenerative Arthritis

Last updated: September 30, 2020

What Does Degenerative Arthritis Mean?

Degenerative arthritis, also called osteoarthritis (OA), is a debilitating condition in which gradual erosion of cartilage and bone tissue influences the range of motion (ROM) of a joint due to progressive inflammation, pain, and rigidity. Many people experience varying degrees of degenerative arthritis that can affect different joints including feet, hands, hips, knees, neck, shoulder, and spine, where treatment modalities cover heat/ice application and injections or surgery.


WorkplaceTesting Explains Degenerative Arthritis

The severity of degenerative arthritis can reflect distinct circumstances of an individual’s life including sedentary lifestyles and activity levels, contributing to pronounced muscle atrophy (muscle loss) and development of osteophytes (bony outgrowths) surrounding the joint. A physician will evaluate a patient based on symptoms corresponding to a particular joint. For example, crepitus can manifest as repetitive cracking/popping sounds that occur at the shoulder or knee joint while effusion (fluid buildup) demonstrates the prognosis of advanced knee arthritis. Several epidemiological implications can be causative factors with degenerative arthritis including joint injury, obesity, muscle tissue loss, and bone misalignments, compounding friction against the cartilage where ossification, or bone remodelling, serves to replace the damage at the joint.

In diagnosing arthritis, physicians employ a battery of testing methods including X-ray imaging and, in some cases, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) as a definitive measure in isolating an underlying condition related to bouts of chronic pain and inflammation. Although degenerative arthritis is irreversible, occupational therapy and physical therapy are beneficial in offering therapeutic interventions to recuperate including hydrotherapy and massage therapy, combining mobility devices and equipment to enhance the quality of life. Because arthritis is relatively common in weight-bearing joints (i.e., hips, knees, spine), a nutritionist can help develop and implement a weight loss plan that involves a healthy diet and exercise regimen to mitigate joint instability.

Individuals with degenerative arthritis meet the criteria for claiming disability; provided chronic pain and limited mobility impedes their capacity to perform regular activities. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) stipulates that employers must furnish reasonable accommodations to individuals with disabilities unless it imposes a financial burden. Statistics indicate that workplace modifications can facilitate job performance, bolstering productivity while also fostering a culture of inclusivity.


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